Sikh Man Fired: Turban Violates NYPD Uniform Policy

March 11, 2002

Source: Newsday

On March 11, 2002, Newsday featured an article on Amric Singh Rathour, a New York Sikh, who "was fired for refusing to remove his turban and shave his beard... Under the tenets of their faith, Sikhs do not cut their hair or beards and wear turbans... Rathour and the Sikh Coalition have started a campaign to abolish the department's no-turban rule and have collected more than 3,400 signatures "online", said Prabjot Singh, director of operations for the coalition... In a statement last week, police defended the dismissal... [saying] Rathour was told he was violating dress code... Rathour... has since hired lawyer Ravinder Bhalla and is hoping to resolve the issue outside of court... 'In New York City, the most diverse city in the world, there's no reason why the NYPD should not embrace Sikhs and allow them to serve on the Police Department with their beards and turbans,' Bhalla said... If no agreement can be reached, Bhalla said, a discrimination lawsuit may be filed because the no-turban rule 'has the affect of preventing otherwise qualified Sikhs from serving on the NYPD'... The argument was used to challenge a similar policy at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1990... They developed guidelines making turban length, color, fabric and appearance all uniform... Bhalla said Rathour would like to replicate those guidelines" in New York.